Today we welcome Merritt Rosen from Portland Ballet as the dancer featured in our student spotlight:
1. Can you tell readers how you became involved with dance?
My first dance class was when I was two-years-old and I have taken dance classes ever since then. It is hard for me to remember a time when dance was not a major part of my life. I think my initial intrigue was sparked by my cousin who is a professional dancer.
2. What do you find you like best about dance class?
Some might find it surprising but I enjoy getting to work on my technique every day. I find a comfort and refuge in the routine and structure of a ballet class. In a dance class, you can forget about other problems and only focus on your technique and strength building. The best feeling in the world is getting a step right that you have been struggling with and the the opposite is true on an ‘off days.’ It’s mesmerizing, it’s infuriating, and that’s what I love about it.
3. What is the hardest part about dance for you?
Since I take ballet classes almost exclusively, I often have a hard time doing other styles of dance. I struggle with translating the concepts I learn in ballet and applying them to other dance forms in a way that is helpful. It can be easy for me to forget about strengthening my technique in other styles of dance when my main focus is on ballet, but in the end, a diverse dancer is much better.
4. What advice would you give to other dancers?
Always stay positive. Sometimes it can be tough when a teacher is particularly stern but it is important to remember that dance is meant to be fun and that teachers are there to help bring you to your fullest potential. It can be easy to get caught up in drama or what not and lose sight of why you wanted to be there in the first place. If you can’t remember, then maybe it is time to do some deep soul searching and find a new hobby.
5. How has dance changed your life?
Besides taking any possible free time away (and I say this endearingly) it has taught me many more things than I could ever possibly list for this interview. Bear with me while I try: I have learned self discipline and time management, how to focus and how to apply constructive criticism without getting my emotions tangled up, and I have learned that taking time each day to do what you are passionate about is of the utmost importance for maintaining sanity.
BIO: Merritt Rosen, 17, is a senior at Westview High School. She began her training with Portland Community Ballet and moved to The Portland Ballet in 2006. She has participated in many of The Portland Ballet’s performances including La Boutique Fantasque, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Paquita. The last two summers she attended the Miami City Ballet summer intensive as well as The Portland Ballet’s Masters Workshop. She is attending Skidmore College in the fall.